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Gastric balloon side effects, weight loss, and why we choose not to offer it

Gastric balloon side effects, weight loss, and why we choose not to offer it

New to the weight loss industry is the gastric balloon which promises quick weight loss. It involves having a balloon inflated in the stomach so that you feel full and cannot eat much, thereby eating less calories, and losing weight. The product is considered to be a less invasive alternative to bariatric surgery, which can make this solution attractive on the surface, but is it really?

How does the gastric balloon work?

The newest, currently available model of intragastric balloons is constrained within a capsule that is swallowed. The balloon is then inflated and remains in the stomach for up to a maximum of 6 months, or in some cases 16 weeks. After 6 months the balloon will naturally deflate on its own and pass through your digestive system. By eating less food, you eat less calories, and you lose weight. However, this is only true while the balloon remains inflated inside of you, but your tool is gone once the balloon deflates.

Gastric balloon side effects, weight loss, and why we choose not to offer it

What are the side effects of the gastric balloon?

The side effects of the gastric balloon include nausea, vomiting, reflux, constipation, and abdominal cramping or abdominal pain. These symptoms typically occur in the first few weeks and in 3% of cases will last the entire duration of the inflated balloon.

In some cases, the balloon may rupture or deflate sooner than expected on its own, which is a risk the patient must accept as there are typically no reimbursements in such events.

How much weight can you lose with a gastric balloon?

The average patient will lose about 10% – 15% of their body weight over the 6 months of the inflated balloon. By 12 months after the balloon is inserted (also being 6 months after the balloon is deflated), there could be some sustained weight loss if the lifestyle habits are maintained, however most people would have regained half of the weight they lost, or regain all the weight back.

What is the cost of the gastric balloon?

The cost of a 16 week product intended to produce weight loss is approximately $8000 CAD. This typically does not include nutrition follow-up care which is considered to be an important component to the long term outcome.

What is our experience with the gastric balloon?

Since we do not offer the gastric balloon, we do not have experience with the process of insertion and removal. However, our experience is received from patients who have had the gastric balloon and had less than ideal experiences, having spent thousands of dollars on a temporary solution that offered temporary weight loss, and who are seeking the recourse of bariatric surgery. Our patient’s reported experience with the balloon was one of dissatisfaction, reporting it to be uncomfortable, and that of frustration that they were quick to regain back their weight once the balloon was deflated.

What is our position on the gastric balloon?

While the gastric balloon may offer weight loss, it is compromised by significant undesirable side effects and an uncomfortable, low quality of life. Furthermore, it only offers temporary weight loss. Thus it is no substitute for bariatric surgery which provides decades-long weight loss results with improved quality of life.

Once the balloon is removed, or exits the body (depending on the type of gastric balloon) the weight loss tool is gone and no longer effective. At this point you will be back to working on keeping the weight off the way you have undoubtedly tried many times before through diet and exercise. The problem is that once the balloon no longer fills your stomach, you will begin to feel hungry again and will have the ability and capacity to fill your stomach. That being said, it is typically a matter of time before your weight begins to increase.

At Weight Loss Surgery Inc. with Dr. Simon Chow, we are committed to offering long-term, sustainable, durable solutions that are evidence-based to be effective for decades, not merely for a few months. We are in the business of providing a true solution to our patients to have a procedure that is not guaranteed to result in weight regain, that is not temporary, as we are not in the business of having recurrent clients. Our goal is for bariatric surgery to result in long-term sustained weight loss and health improvement, so that by the time you have completed one year of surgery, we depart with a happy goodbye, not having to see each other again for another procedure down the road.

We want to offer you one excellent surgery that will serve and last you for your lifetime.